BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Programmes: Hardtalk  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Friday, 11 October, 2002, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
Brighton bomber's regrets
Patrick Magee met the BBC's Tim Sebastian
Patrick Magee met the BBC's Tim Sebastian
Eighteen years after the Brighton bombing, former IRA terrorist, Patrick Magee, has continued to defend his role in the blast, but expressed remorse for the loss of innocent lives.


In an interview for BBC HARDtalk he said: "I regret that people were killed, I don't regret the fact that I was involved in a struggle.

"I believe if you look back objectively at the root causes of this conflict you will see that all avenues were closed to us, that our only recourse was to engage in a violent conflict."

In 1984, Patrick Magee, attempted to kill the former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and her entire cabinet, by planting a bomb at the party's hotel during their annual party conference.

Mrs Thatcher escaped uninjured, but the blast killed five people and injured 34 others.

Early release

The Brighton Grand
Brighton's Grand Hotel suffered extensive damage
In 1986, Magee was convicted of murder and received eight life sentences, with the recommendation that he serve a minimum of 35 years.

In 1999 he was released under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

Since his release he has become involved with Irish conciliation groups and met relatives of victims from the bombing.

He acknowledged that these meetings have made him consider the impact of his actions.


The bottom line was for them to understand a bit better what motivated me and people like me

Patrick Magee
He said: "I've sat down with victims it wasn't for them to be convinced of my arguments, it wasn't for them at the end of the day to receive an apology from me. I think the bottom line was for them to understand a bit better what motivated me and people like me.

"It does cause a re-appraisal of the past but my bottom line still is that my involvement in the Irish Republican Army and the whole armed struggle was necessary simply because we had no other course. But I have to regret the fact that people were hurt."

Dilemma

Patrick Magee was born in Belfast but spent his early years in Norwich. At the age of 18 he returned to Belfast where he soon became involved with the Provisional IRA

Magee claims he was a pacifist, prior to joining the IRA. Despite his commitment to the cause he has always struggled with the consequences of his violent actions.


I'm always going to be conflicted about the fact that I've caused hurt

Patrick Magee
He said: "I have to grapple with the fact that that I've hurt human beings.

"I think I'm always going to be conflicted about the fact that I've caused hurt. It doesn't come naturally to me. In the early days I would have even called myself a pacifist. If you'd asked me at the age of 15, 16.... that's how I would have described myself."

Prospects

The peace process had been derailed over allegations that the IRA had a spy working inside the Northern Ireland Office.

Tony Blair
UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair
Ulster Unionists have threatened to pull out of a devolved government unless Sinn Fein are expelled.

But, despite these obstacles, Mr Magee remains hopeful about the long-term prospect for peace.

He said: "I'm optimistic about the future, despite setbacks, despite the fact it's a very fraught process that's going to be long, dragged out, and it's going to be decades before we get there.

"There's real wind behind the sails of this peace process and it will get it over the hurdles."


The interview can be watched in full on Monday 14 October on BBC World and BBC News 24 at the following times:

BBC News 24 (times shown in BST) 0430, repeated 2230

BBC World (times shown in GMT) 0330, repeated 0830, 1130, 1530, 1830, 2330



HARDtalk with Tim Sebastian is broadcast Mon - Friday on BBC World and BBC News 24
HARDtalk home
About HARDtalk
Tim Sebastian biography
Programme schedules
Contact us
FAQs
RELATED WEBSITES
BBC News 24BBC News 24
The latest news, sport and weather
Links to more Hardtalk stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Hardtalk stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes